Friday, May 6, 2011

Peace Quote of the Day - is religion the source of violence? (2)

"We can only conclude that there is some violent impulse so deeply rooted in the human heart that it expresses itself regardless of what the beliefs of a particular society might be - whether socialist or capitalist, whether religious or irreligious, whether individualistic or hierarchical. Ultimately, then, the fact of violence and warfare in a society is no necessary refutation of the prevailing beliefs of that society."
Timothy Keller, The Reason for God

This statement is in the context of considering the accusation that orthodox religion leads inevitably to violence.

I would add an observation that among religious people, you find those who cause violence, and those who work against it. The question that I find interesting is, why does religious belief and practice seem to lead to violence with some people, whereas for others their religious belief and practice (in the same religions) leads them away from violence? If is is true that there is a "violent impulse" which is "deeply rooted in the human heart," how and why does religion (or religious belief and practice) stir it up and encourage it, or work to change and overcome it (as the case may be)? 

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